The holidays are tough on anyone. Even if you’re in tiptop shape, you’re tired after this crazy time. There’s so many events, a constant flow of people, and your schedule is completely turned upside down. There is no normalcy during this time of year. Imagine if you will, how much more the holidays takes its toll on someone who already gets exhausted by just surviving on an average day.
I love Christmas. Always have. And this year especially I was excited because I have a two year old and Christmas is finally becoming magical again. We started prepping her for Santa in hopes that she wouldn’t cry when she saw him (didn’t work by the way), but every morning she would find our stuffed Santa, grab him, hug him and yell out “Ho Ho Ho!” She then would ask for the tree to be turned on (or in her words OFF! OFF!) and proclaim that it was so pretty. This was our routine every morning and I looked forward to it every day (almost as much as I looked forward to my morning coffee).
Behind my excitement for Christmas was a sense of dread because I knew how exhausted I’d be at the end of it all. Our family planned quite a few events to go to and I could only hope and pray that I could make it to them all. Thankfully I actually did better than expected, not even getting sick once, but I woke up every morning with a chronically-ill, Christmas hangover (this is really the only way I’m able to describe how I felt every morning). Was it worth it? You betcha! But it still made every day hard.
It’s January 3rd now and the events are finally over. It’s been freezing rain here all day which is just encouraging my plans for today – to do nothing! We all need a vacation after the holidays and that’s what my day is today, a little vacation. My daughter and I are having a pyjama and Paw Patrol day. She is just waking up from a beautiful two hour nap and I’m sure she’ll be ready to go back down again in a couple of hours (it’s now been a couple hours and she’s really not happy that I put her down for nap #2). Both of us are exhausted from the last couple weeks.
I guess all I’m trying to convey in this post is that although I know that certain events in my life will take literally every bit of energy out of me, it’s worth it sometimes. Most of the time actually. I’ve loved all of our extra family time. I loved watching my daughter tear open her presents. I’ve loved all the delicious food (but not the consequences of said delicious food). The traveling was hard, the late nights were even harder, and the dehydration from it all was the hardest. I’ll be recovering from all this for at least the next week, realistically probably two. Maybe even three. And even though I had my ridiculously cranky moments because I was so tired during all of it, the holidays was still a very magical time this year; something being ill thankfully hasn’t stolen from me.
I may be late in saying this but Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and I hope you all have a wonderful 2017!
For the month of January, I will be doing My Mighty Month challenge. A lot of these posts will be on my Facebook page. Please click the link below to follow me there!
In Japan, there’s a term called “Kintsukoroi”; it refers to broken objects which are repaired with gold. This way, the flaw is seen as a unique attribute to its history and adds to its beauty.
Shortly after my first surgery, when my small intestine was removed and I was told I would never eat or drink again, I was in ICU and my mom was there visiting. I was obviously processing this grim news and spent most of my waking hours in tears. I was broken in every sense of the word. My mom took me in her arms, as much as she could being that I was attached to multiple IVs and oxygen, and with her head next to mine she whispered to me that she would take me broken over not having me at all.
Although these words comfort me on a daily basis, it still hurts my heart. I’m broken. I have pieces missing. And no matter how far I may come with medications or surgeries, I will forever have the scars that remind me that I am and forever will be broken.
But really, who isn’t broken in one way or another?
I love the idea, however, that maybe this brokenness can make me more beautiful. That gold can be added to these cracks and scars. Who doesn’t like to add a little bling to their life?
Ok, physically I’m not a fan of the scars that have been left on my body. But I have noticed how my being broken has changed me in other ways. I don’t get offended easily – it’s not worth the energy that it uses up. I make sure to spend some quality time with friends and family and I get family photos any chance I can. I’m more patient now. I’ve learned sympathy is a great asset to have. I’m slowly outlining my scars with gold. Making my brokenness beautiful with things I may not have had in my life if my life didn’t take this turn.
I woke up from a dream last week full on sobbing and I whispered “Jesus, I’m too broken. I need you to carry me.” I don’t remember what the dream was, but I’ve been hanging on to those words all week. “I’m too broken. Carry me.”
I’ll never get through this on my own strength. I’ve had to rely on family, friends and my church. Now I really need to let Jesus carry me for the time being and let more gold fill in the broken parts of me.
Have you ever felt like everyone has moved on after something huge has happened, but you haven’t yet? That feeling like you’re getting sucked down by this enormous event — as if you were stuck in quicksand — and everyone just keeps walking and they don’t look back? They just assume you’re keeping up the pace with them? Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling.
I realize that my being ill will obviously affect me in a very different way than it will affect anyone else. I say obviously, but when someone is in a situation where they are dealing with something of this magnitude what seems obvious to them may not, in fact, be obvious to those around them. At the end of the day, all I want to do is move forward in this journey, just the same as everyone else. Instead, it seems as if I’m stuck in this huge pit of mud and I have no clue how I’m going to get out any time soon.
I’ve had a difficult time finding a balance between trying to live a “normal” life and actually talking about what I’m feeling and what I’m going through. Should I actually talk about what’s happening in my life, or would it be better if I just ‘smile and nod along’ as if nothing has changed? How much do people REALLY want to know about what’s going on in my life when they ask me how I’m doing? I don’t want to lie and say I’m great (an answer I haven’t given in roughly 11 months), but I also don’t want to be viewed as a ‘Negative Nancy’ and always be the one bringing the mood down when I give a more realistic answer to such a simple (for most) question. My go-to answers of late have been either a simple “fine” or “oh you know, just taking it one day at a time.”
I guess I’m finding it challenging, because everyone seems to have gone on with their lives. Meanwhile, I face this every single day. I can’t escape the reality that things have changed. Even if I am having a good day pain and energy wise I am faced with the reality that my life will never be the same. At the end of every day, I still need to head upstairs approximately 45 minutes earlier than whatever time I figure I will actually want to be in bed. That’s about how long it takes me to hook myself up to my IV bag, give myself my injection, take my medication and then after all that, go through my normal bedtime routine. My good, normal day has all of a sudden come to a halt and I have been brought back down to reality.
Just when I sometimes feel like I’m maybe finally getting used to this new normal, something happens to make me realize all over again that my life has been forever changed. Something as simple as taking my daughter to a jungle gym for 1 hour sent me to bed at 6pm that day, and took me 48 hours to recover from – making me realize yet again that my life will never be the same.
Allow me to wrap this up by clarifying that I don’t expect people’s lives to revolve around my situation. I would never want it to be that way – people all have their own lives to live. I just want to get unstuck from the muck, catch up and move on with everyone else.